Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Have you ever had a prayer that you really needed to have answered? Maybe it was a test that you forgot about and barely studied for, or maybe it was a situation with a family member where you needed them to get well or overcome some obstacle. Whatever it was, I'm sure you prayed fervently and even pleaded with God to hear you and answer your prayer. What happened?
Today's first reading, from the 2nd book of Kings, has a beautiful message to us about prayer. Now, that message isn't that prayer is a perfect "science" and everything we want/need will be given to us as long as we do it the right way. Too often we view God as a vending machine and we believe that if we do things the right way or put in the right amount of "money" we'll get exactly what we want in return. God doesn't operate that way! God always works out of love for us and what's best for us. Sometimes that's working for us and fulfilling whatever our prayer was, which is exactly what we hear about in today's reading.
Today, we have the account of king Hezekiah being confronted with the massive Assyrian army, led by Sennacherib. This army was one of the biggest in the world at the time, and as such had a reputation for winning and conquering. The people of Judah were rightly afraid when message came to them that the army of Assyrians was advancing on them to conquer and slaughter them. So, Hezekiah, much like all of us in moments of fear or desperation, goes to the Lord to ask him to intervene. He praises God for who he is and asks God to spare the people of Judah from this battle. The beauty in this story is that God hears the prayer of Hezekiah and answers- he strikes down a massive force in the Assyrian army and their battle is repelled.
But what else can we take from this reading? It isn't enough to simply hear a story about how God answers prayers because often our prayers seem to go unanswered. I think what we can take away from today is that God always hears our prayers and he always acts according to what he has heard. Now, in some cases, that may be giving us exactly what we want, like he did for Hezekiah. But even when we don't get exactly what we pray for, we need to remain faithful in knowing that God does hear our prayers and he always responds to them, even if we don't see or understand his response.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How has God answered my prayers lately?
Am I focused only on seeing God answer my prayers like I want him to?
How can I learn to seek God even when he doesn't answer my prayers how I want?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I know you hear me, God."
"Thank you for listening to my prayers."
"Help me see how you love me."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Start writing down your prayers today in a journal. Track them over time- when God answers a prayer, however soon or not, go back and write it down. In time you'll learn to see how God is moving in your prayer life more and more.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
"Today's prayer was prepared by Adam Smyth, a high school youth minister at St. Anthony of Padua parish in The Woodlands, TX.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called ""Prayers"" and let us know how we can pray for you today. "
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